For two main reasons, this article is an important source for efforts to reconstruct the polemic surrounding abstract art in Colombia in the sixties. First, it heeds different voices in its analysis of the conflict between proponents of abstraction and proponents of realism: the opinions of Enrique Grau and Luis Alberto Acuña—who had done both abstract and figurative work—are expressed, as is that of Gonzalo Ariza, who had explored the Colombian landscape in the language of realism. The article also contains the opinion of critic Eugenio Barney, director of the Escuela de Bellas Artes at the time. Thus, the text attempts to encompasses disparate points of view as it addresses a specific aesthetic phenomenon, one that was central to all those involved in Colombian art at the time.
It is interesting that all of the participants in the discussion except Ariza claim that the opposition between abstraction and figuration had been overcome and, as such, it did not provide criteria on which to assess the quality of works. This indicates that, by this time, abstract art was no longer met with prejudice in Colombia; it was, rather, analyzed on the basis of historical and social criteria. This is evident in the words of Barney and Acuña. The former places abstract art in a socioeconomic framework and the latter sees it as the result of a process of aesthetic evolution that can be traced through history. This makes sense since the article was published in 1962, by which time abstract art had been on the Latin American art scene for more than two decades. Indeed, in Colombia, there were a number of well established abstract artists, such as Marco Ospina Restrepo (1912–1983) and Omar Rayo (1928?2010).
This text is fundamental to researchers working on this debate because it evidences the reasons that abstract art was able to develop in Colombia in the sixties. The article also makes use of novel channels of communication with the public that had been impossible previously due to the inability to reach a broad audience or to analyze aesthetic procedures outside established tradition.